5-Step Beginner’s Guide to Solo Travel

After the COVID-19 global pandemic, the world is finally starting to reopen & people are starting to travel again. Remote working has also become increasingly popular and a new term, “digital nomad”, is emerging. Maybe you’ve traveled with family & friends in the past but wonder what it would be like to travel solo.

One of the most rewarding experiences of my life is solo travel. You’ll gain confidence, personal strength, love for yourself, and enrich your view of the world.

If you’ve asked yourself “Is solo travel safe?”, “Where can I go?”, “Will I get lonely?”, or “Where do I even start?”, then this blog post is for you! I will give you 5 simple steps to take your next trip solo.

  1. Ask yourself. Why do I want to solo travel?

Are you tired of waiting on your friends to travel? Do you want to travel on your own terms? Maybe you need some “me-time”, ideally in a beautiful destination? Are you ready to begin your self-development journey through travel?

Whatever your reason, write it down. You’ll need it later.

Tip

Keep a small travel journal to record your solo-travel journey! Take it with you on all your adventures.

2. Go somewhere!

Start small. I recommend going somewhere you’ve been in the past.

Here’s some ideas to started:

  • Instead of Netflix, go to a movie theater.
  • If you’re a foodie, take yourself out to eat.
  • Make yourself a picnic at the park.
  • Window shop at the mall.

Tip

Bring something to do – a book, your phone (download a game, podcast, or music), or your travel journal.

Try to stay off of social media & disconnect as much as (safely) possible. You may feel uncomfortable – that is normal! Embrace the feeling & remind yourself why you want to solo-travel.

Journal your experience.

Repeat this step until you feel comfortable in your own company.

3. Research

I recommend initiating this step 1 year – 6 months prior to your proposed departure. Step #3 is has two purposes. First, to ease any anxiety about solo travel. Second, to find an ideal solo destination for you!

Here’s some facts to get you started on the first part of research:

  • One out of every six people in the United States have taken a trip alone.
  • 84% of solo travelers are women.
  • According to the Global Peace Index of 2020, the United States ranked 121st out of 163 nations for peacefulness and general safety. This is below El Salvador (113th) and above South Africa (123rd).
  • The United States has the highest rate of death by guns in the developed world.
  • 90% of the worlds mass shootings happen in the United States.

My intention is not to discourage US travel but to put things into perspective. You most likely live in the United States. The truth is, the US isn’t too much safer than many other places in the world. I feel much safer walking alone at night in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica than I do in New York City.

Living as a single woman in several large US cities, I already have certain skills to keep myself safe. I use those skills day-to-day & when I travel. Odds are – you already know safety tips & tricks too!

Tip

Join groups on social media to connect with others & watch solo travel YouTube videos. I mostly use Facebook groups & search keywords like “female”, “black”, “solo travel”.

The second piece of research is to find your ideal solo trip destination.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • Close your eyes. When you imagine your next vacation, what do you see around you?
  • Do you like all-inclusive, cruises, adventure, or a cultural trip?
  • Domestic or International travel?
  • Where was your favorite vacation? Why was it your favorite?

There are endless possibilities. For example, if you like all-inclusive, beaches, & international travel, I’d recommend Mexico or the Caribbean! If you enjoy mountains & US travel, I’d recommend Utah or Gatlinburg, TN.

You can use Google, Facebook groups, YouTube, blogs, and word-of-mouth to narrow down your options.

Tip

If you’re still unsure about your destination. Go on Google Flights, enter your departure city, & leave the destination blank. For the dates entered, you can see several travel destinations by flight cost.

4. Planning

Start this step 1 year – 3 months before your planned travel date. You’ll select a destination, create a budget, and start booking.

When selecting a destination, consider:

  • Your ideal vacation
  • Travel Advisories
  • Travel Restrictions
  • Cost
  • Time of year (i.e. high/low tourist season, weather, national/local holidays)
  • Your background & local norms (racism, colorism, LGBTQ+ friendly, woman’s rights)

I recommend finding a tourist-friendly destination. Many countries main source of revenue is tourism, they are usually safe and easy to navigate for English speakers.

Travel doesn’t need to be expensive. There are lots of tips & tricks to save money on your vacation.

When budgeting consider:

  • Accommodations
  • Food & Alcohol
  • Souvenirs
  • Pre-travel spending (clothes, toiletries, etc.)
  • Airfare
  • Other transportation (Uber, private vehicle, car rental, taxis)
  • Excursions
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Other (mobile phone fees, forgotten items, hotel fees, etc.)

Tip

Keep an emergency travel fund. This is in case you need to rebook a hotel, get money stolen, or any other unexpected event.

You can now start booking! You’ll probably feel a mix of butterflies, nerves, anxiety, and excitement. Rely on your community for support. If family & friends aren’t solo travelers, post your milestone in a Facebook or other social media groups (excluding travel dates and lodging info). We will celebrate with you!

Tip

Book everything in incognito mode. I once saved over $200 on an all-inclusive hotel just by using incognito mode!

5. Enjoy your trip!

Stay safe & trust yourself. You deserve to have a great time.

Solo travel has the power to change your life. You will explore a new place, in a new perspective, & learn about yourself along the way.

Booking excursions, staying in a hostel, or hanging out in public areas, you will meet new people. Or you can relax in a spa resort, totally isolated. The best part of solo travel is the freedom! You can be as spontaneous or planned as you want. Either way, it’s all about you.

Final thoughts

Congratulations on taking the first step of your own self-development through travel! I guarantee the experience will be invaluable!

Please be patient with yourself. If you’re not used to spending time alone you are not going to instantly take to solo travel on the first day of your trip. Keep journaling, rely on your community for support, and follow this blog. You wont regret it!

“If you are waiting for someone to travel with you, you’ll be waiting a lifetime!”

If you’d like to schedule a 30-minute video chat please contact admin@ashleytravels.com

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Costa Rica FAQs

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